Steven Rattner, Obama's handpicked car czar, has written a forthcoming new book, Overhaul, which makes some interesting admissions, according to a report in the HuffPo.
Though Rattner praised Obama's thoughtful manner when he calmly executed his decisions, the car czar notes that the president seemed to have it in for the automakers from the beginning.
Sounds about right for this president. Because Rattner has zero need for book sales to make money (he is quite wealthy) this has the ring of truth.
Rattner goes on, though, to claim that Obama did not seem to be much in favor of helping auto unions either. But Rattner notes that politics intruded on the actions the administration took regarding the car companies.
He does describe the sometimes political nature of the discussions of the automakers' fates, saying that White House adviser David Axelrod brought the latest polling data to a discussion about bailing out Chrysler and Rahm Emanuel identified Congressmen in whose districts large Chrysler facilities were located.
Rattner also claimed that Obama supporters and donors barraged the White House with calls, emails and memos to take stronger steps, including nationalizing the big banks, to deal with the financial crisis. He says that Obama's economic team "veered dangerously close to having the government take control of the two most troubled banks, Bank of America and Citigroup." Even Summers seemed fond of the idea -- launching a project known as "USG as Shareholder."
Rattner is also critical of Obama's "one president at a time" stance during the transition, stating that "if his team had linked arms with the outgoing administration, as President Bush's advisers had proposed, billions of dollars could well have been saved." He adds that personnel decisions, such as Tim Geithner and Larry Summers's appointments, should have been made faster and at not such a deliberate pace.
But I though the administration did not look at polls -- at least, according to their press flack, Robert Gibbs, who represented that this was the case.